Elon Musk emailed Twitter staff on Friday asking that all employees writing software code report to the 10th floor of its San Francisco office by early afternoon, according to multiple news reports.
The billionaire said in a follow-up email, “If possible, I would appreciate it if you could fly to SF to be present in person,” adding that he would be at the company’s headquarters until midnight and would return Saturday morning, Reuters reported. The engineers must report at 2 pm on Friday.
Meanwhile, Musk launched a Twitter poll late Friday asking followers to vote on whether to reinstate former US President Donald Trump’s account on the platform. Early results showed that roughly 60% voted yes.
Musk’s emails came a day after reports suggested between 1,000 and 1,200 Twitter employees decided to quit the beleaguered social media company following a Thursday deadline from Musk that staff report for “long, high-intensity hours,” or leaves. The New York Times also reported on the email and the employee’s decision.
In true Twitter fashion, dozens of employees tweeted their layoffs with a version of the company’s internal slogan #lovewhereyouworked. “I may be #exceptional, but damn, I’m just not #hardcore,” tweeted Andrea Horst, who worked in supply chain and capacity management at Twitter.
The company had told employees it would close its offices and cut access to the brand until Monday, Reuters reported, citing two unnamed sources, and it was not immediately known if the headquarters had reopened.
Musk ordered employees to email him a summary of what their software code had “achieved” over the past six months, “along with up to 10 screenshots of the most prominent lines of code”.
“There will be short, technical interviews that allow me to better understand Twitter’s technology stack,” Musk wrote in one of the emails.
Musk said this week that some Tesla engineers helped evaluate Twitter’s engineering team, but he said it was on a “voluntary basis” and “after hours.”
The loss of employees in critical engineering roles comes just days before the World Cup, when the service typically expects a surge in traffic. The high-traffic event could be an important test for the new Twitter 2.0, as Musk referred to it, and how the company expects to run with a stripped-down workforce.
Musk said he would try to talk to remote workers via video, and that only people who couldn’t physically make it to the company’s headquarters or had a family emergency would be excused.
In his first email to Twitter employees this month, Musk said: “We are also changing the Twitter policy so that remote work is no longer allowed, unless you have a specific exception.
“Manage will send the exception lists to me for review and approval.”
The telecommuting policy prompted a proposed class-action lawsuit filed by Dmitry Borodaenko, a Twitter employee who said he was fired for failing to report to the office. Borodaenko, who has a disability that makes him vulnerable to Covid-19, claims that telecommuting as well as the requirement to work long, intense hours violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the complaint.
Musk’s first three weeks as Twitter’s owner have been marked by rapid change and chaos. He quickly fired Twitter’s former CEO and other top executives, then laid off half of its staff earlier this month.
Musk posted his poll on whether Trump should be reinstated on the platform, tweeting “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” using a Latin phrase roughly meaning “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” Voting was open for 24 hours.
Musk said in May he would lift Twitter’s ban on Trump, whose account was suspended after last year’s attack on the US Capitol.
Musk said earlier Friday that a decision to reinstate Trump’s account had not yet been made, and that Twitter had reinstated some accounts that had been banned or suspended, including satirical website Babylon Bee — and comedian Kathy Griffin, who was suspended after changing her name on Twitter to Elon Musk.
Musk’s decision to ask Twitter users for guidance on who should be on the platform is part of a massive restructuring of the company, including the massive layoffs.
Yoel Roth, the former head of trust and security brought in to quell concerns advertisers had with the platform, said in a New York Times op-ed that he had chosen to resign last week because it was clear Musk would strike unilaterally. . “A Twitter whose policy is defined by unilateral edict has little need for a trust and security function dedicated to its principled development,” Roth wrote.
Musk wrote on Twitter late Thursday that he wasn’t worried about departures because “the best people stay.”
“So where does Twitter go from here?” Roth wrote. “Some of the company’s decisions in the coming weeks and months, like the near certainty of allowing Donald Trump’s account back on the service, will have an immediate, noticeable impact. But to really understand the shape of Twitter going forward, I would encourage that you not only looking at the choices the company makes but at how Musk makes them.”
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